A New Canning Rack

trivet

My favorite canning pot is a basic stock pot with a flat rack dropped into the bottom. I moved to this system a few years ago, after rusting through a traditional enameled pot. The one weak point in this set-up has always been rack. I typically use a round cake cooling rack and I’ve found that I have to replace it at least once a season because it eventually rusts into pieces. What’s more, as it rusts, it releases metallic crud into the water that leaves residue on the outside of the jars. It was not ideal.

trivet canning rack

As I thought about how to solve this problem, the idea of a silicone disk popped to mind. It would be resistent to the heat levels, would do the job of lifting the jars out of contact with the heat and if it had enough holes in it, would also allow the water to circulate sufficiently around the jars. At first, I tried a basic round silicone trivet that I had in the drawer, but it wasn’t perforated enough and made a horrible amount of racket as the boiling water pushed it off the bottom of the pot.

trivet

So I searched until I found this flexible, flower-shaped trivet. Made of silicone, it hits all the marks. It keeps the jars off the bottom of the pot, allows the boiling water past and doesn’t break down into the water. So far, it’s been positively ideal. And for $9.99, it was a fairly inexpensive solution to a problem that’s consistently vexed me.

What’s your most creative canning solution?

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96 responses to “A New Canning Rack”

  1. You smartiepants! I hate, hate, hate, the smell of rust in water, and am sensitive to even small amounts. For some odd reason, it reminds me of the smell of slaughtering chickens. I’m sure there’s something Freudian and horrible about me because of that, BUT all that to say–perfect solution. PERFECT. I’ma buy me one, STAT.

  2. What a good idea! I use a pizza screen as a canning rack, which seems to (so far) work really well. It’s aluminum too so it shouldn’t have any rusting problems.

  3. Aluminum pizza pans are sold by the inch, if you go to an industrial supply. I bought one to fit a medium sized pot and drilled a dozen holes in it.

    So, I have a canning kettle for 7 quarts, my stock pot with the pizza pan for five quarts or several pints, and an asparagus pot from the thrift shop for one quart or pint. Awesome.

  4. My pressure canner rack just fits inside my big stock pot. Been using it that way for 3 years now. I have “re-homed” all my enamel canners and icky jar racks as I too, cannot handle that smell & residue on my jars. Love all the ideas that are being shared here!

    • I do this too! (the pressure canner rack inside the stock pot).

      My bigger problem has been the hard water reside on my pans (especially on the one I use for heating lids). I have had to boil vinegar with water in the pans to help loosen the calcium deposits (the vapors will clear your nose and lungs!)

      • Look for a product called “Sanivac” by Davis Manufacturing Co., 1023 Morales Street, San Antonio, TX 78207-2369
        Phone: (210) 227-9161

        No boiling – no fumes – no hacking and choking. It cleans away the hardwater scale without boiling.

        I have a couple of quart bottles under the sink.

  5. Good one. I’ve been using round baking racks and can’t understand what you’re “supposed” to use otherwise for half-pints. The standard racks certainly don’t work and they drive me crazy. I’ve never actually lifted a rack of jars out of the pot and probably never will. Love all these ideas–especially the custom sized drilled pizza pans!

  6. Love this idea! My first rack rusted out and the second just doesn’t fit right. Mission for this weekend is to find a similar trivet. Got loads of marmalade to make this weekend so need this desperately!

  7. I have a question. Don’t the jars move around a lot when they don’t have dividers between them? I have been using a canning rack for years, but small jars fall through the holes up to their screw bands. I have seen a few racks that have smaller holes so the half pints won’t fall through, but they don’t have dividers and I am afraid the jars will move around and break when they bump into each other.

      • I find that full jars (either full of water when heating up or full of your product during processing) don’t move around. And if your water is boiling so vigorously that it is tossing the jars around the pot, you should turn it down a little. It needs to be at a gentle boil, not a rapid, rolling one.

  8. What a great idea! I’m also going to try this when I make dulce de leche (from the sweetened condensed milk cans) in my crockpot. The cans leave a rust ring on the bottom of my crock pot. I’ve tried putting a dishcloth at the bottom of the pot, but then it comes out rust colored and sometimes makes the cans float up to the top, which is not a good thing.

    I also love the idea about using it for the smaller half pint jars. I always have trouble balancing them on a regular canning rack!

  9. Love this idea! Was a store find or a web search? Would you mind lettting us know a place to purchase?
    Kind Regards,

    • If you click the link above that says, “flexible, flower-shaped trivet” it will take you to this item’s page on Amazon. That’s where I bought mine.

  10. Great idea! I don’t have a canning rack since I use two different stainless steel pots that don’t fit the traditional canning rack. I’ve used various makeshift ways of keeping the jars off the bottom and they’ve all made me a little nervous (and a few jars have broken, too). I will definitely have to find something like this. Thanks.

  11. I am new to canning and I have been using a silicone trivet in a stock pot. I wondered why water was sloshing out of the pan! I should have figured it out, but… The flower trivet is beautiful, I will be looking for it.

  12. We have a homemade wooden rack. We never use anything to separate the jars from each other. Last year was our first we have any broken jars in the canning pot but we were also using new to us, used jars so that was most likely our issue. It’s much cheaper to buy used jars at yard sales and stuff but you run the risk of broken jars but to save over 75% off new jars, I am willing to take that risk.

  13. This sounds like a great idea! However, my problem is bigger – way bigger.

    I used to can all the time when my 3 kids were at home, and had a huge garden. Dozens of quarts of everything imaginable filled my pantry for the winter – life was good! But know that the kids are gone and we’ve moved to another house, I found that, according to the manufacturer’s instructions, I can’t use my ceramic top stove for canning. Something about the large flat surface of the pot, the high heat and cracking the ceramic top! We have a small garden for the 2 of us and I want to can small batches again. Now what do I do?

    • Check out this discussion on the flat top stove. It has some interesting info & suggestions. I have a glass top stove (st least that is what I wold call it, maybe it really is ceramic?) & didn’t know you weren’t supposed to can on it so have been for years. That’s the nice thing about buying a “used” house as opposed to a new one, someone has usually broken in/broken everything for you so you can be more cavalier than if everything was new & you knew how much it would cost to replace! Hahaha!
      http://www.pickyourown.org/cannings4glasstop.htm

  14. Thanks for posting this! I have a stock pot I’ve been wanting to use for canning and haven’t been able to find anything that will work, this is perfect!

    Any thoughts about using this on top of already placed jars to make a second layer of jars? Or should I just use this at the bottom and regular canning rack for the second layer…

    • Meghan, the silicone trivet doesn’t have enough body or structure to work as a secondary layer. For that, you’d need to find something rigid. Maybe try the drilled pizza pan technique suggested above?

  15. Thanks for the great idea. I was having the same problem with my rack rusting. Amazon has a deal on the silicone trivets right now-4 for 3, so I bought all 4 colors. I like that you can insert one trivet into another to make one bigger trivet.

  16. You are brilliant! As I read your description of the problem, I realized they were the same problems I was having with rusting pots and racks. Eureka! I have 2 of these trivets on order and am excited to get canning sans rust.

  17. I just wanted to comment that with my last two flat topped stoves, I have canned successfully with a boiling water canner and a pressure canner. When I looked into the “problem” originally, I read that the issue was the burners turn off too often. I don’t have a problem with my pressure, though, or the water continuing to boil. Just my experience.

    • Sherry, it’s perfectly safe to use a folded dishcloth. It’s just that not everyone wants to deal with a sopping wet cloth every time they can.

  18. Brilliant! I was planning on replacing my enamel canning pot and rack this year due to rusting. However, now I believe I’ll try this method instead. Thanks.

  19. Dear Marisa,

    is it odd to say, That I find this idea not only practical but also beautiful? Although no one sees it, when ints in the pot, but, well…..
    Thanks for showing us! I´ll have a look, where I can get something like this in germany!

    • I’m thinking I’ll buy 3 of these in red and hang them on the wall when I’m not using them. Canning item and art work all in one!

  20. My most creative canning solution: a chopstick for measuring stick. I used an indelible marker to make a line around the chopstick marked pint, quart and water line. I use it for cutting asparagus, string beans, etc. for quart or pint jars. And it also marks the water level for my canners so I fill it to that line, even my husband can fill the pot correctly for me. I give chopsticks to my friends for their canners too.

  21. I recently acquired a small kitchen canner from Wilderness of Wish. It processes just one can at a time. It doesn’t take up too much space. I can can something while I am making dinner. I can can very small amounts of jam easily. I don’t have a big kitchen, but I really love putting things by!

  22. When we lived in Japan, I really missed home canned goods. So I canned in my largest soup pot with a towel under the jars. When we moved to the States, I got the standard canning pot with the rack, and thought I was the only one who minded the rust. I have gone back to the towel under the jars, but appreciate the jar lifter–using long chopsticks to get the jars out of the water was a bit of a trick!

  23. I use my 12 quart stainless steel pasta pot. It has the strainer that fits inside the pot that you can easily lift up. I set the jars in the strainer. Seems to work alright.

  24. We waterlogged a few of paint stir sticks that we screwed together and broke to fit inside the bottom of a friend’s stockpot. (We still borrow his stockpot for canning.) Works well enough, but when we do have to replace it, I’ll look for this silicone trivet. I’m a sucker for pretty kitchen things.

  25. What a great idea! I just bought 2 racks that are for slow cookers but they’re too narrow in diameter. Where did you find your silicone trivet?

  26. I hit on the exact same solution (unused silicon trivet from IKEA) to can in my current stockpot, whose bottom is so thin that anything but water or stock sticks to the bottom no matter how low the heat. Its only drawback is that it’s not quite large enough to cover the entire bottom, and I’ve lost a few quart jars that got exposed to too much heat (and the trivet got a bit discolored, but eh). Must try this cuter version — I bet it allows the water to stay hot more easily, too.

  27. Thank you! I used the flower trivet yesterday, outstanding. No more balancing jars on my old trivet. As an added plus it folds into a small bundle for storage.

  28. Thanks for the tip, I just bought 3. I’ve been using small-mouth rings tied together with twine on the bottom of my kettle.

    A note to others, these qualify (as of my posting this) for super-saver shipping from Amazon. So, if you want to buy 2 it’ll cost you $27 with shipping or $30 for three (with free 5-8 day shipping). I spent the extra $3 and I’ll give one as a gift.

  29. I realize this is a bit late, but I just made hard-boiled eggs for Easter, and I used my silicon trivet (bought at your suggestion) in the bottom of the pot to keep them from banging around too much. Worked great!

  30. I bought this trivet after reading your recommendation and just used it for the first time. Do you have any trouble with it floating or collapsing on you while the water is boiling and there aren’t any jars holding it down? It was quite a battle to get it to stay flat at the bottom of my pot as I was dropping full jars in to process. Any tips for dealing with this?

    • I’ve been wanting to can for a long time and after coming across your site a few days ago, I did my first canning tonight. I thought I’d try something simple – your homemade applesauce. I cut the recipe in half, added cinnamon and all spice, used a large regular pot with an old deep fryer basket for processing. Did everything exactly as per the instructions. My 2 1/2 lbs of apples yielded 2 pints and came out great!. I can’t wait to try the tomato jam and conserva – will do that this week-end.

  31. I purchased this exact and tried it last night for the first time. Couldn’t keep it flat in the pan, it kept folding up with the boiling water. What did I do wrong? Please help as I think this is a brilliant solution to the whole rack problem!

    • When nothing is sitting on top of the trivet, it may float. However, just grab a pair of tongs, flatten it out and place a jar on top of it. Problem solved.

  32. I didn’t have a rack to use the first time I canned, but I had inherited roughly 3000 canning lids. So, I twist-tied a bunch of them together, and, so far so good. They’ve gotten a little rusty, but I dry them well after every use, and they have lasted nearly a year.

  33. Marisa, I have been looking through your blog and haven’t found an answer to my question – I usually only can small amounts at a time – usually just pint or half-pints and I find that my jars tip over a lot. Other than filling up empty jars with water next to those filled w/what I am to preserve, do you know of any other types of canning racks that will help with tippy jars?

  34. Hi marissa,
    Are you just putting jars in water bath on trivet with no traditional rack/jar holder?
    And the jars are touching? Won’t they break?

  35. I saw on another blog where the person used a kitchen towel on the bottom of her pot to put the small amount of jam jars she was canning onto. I thought that sounded like a good idea, though some of the jars looked to be tilting through some of the canning process.

  36. Right now I use the traditional wire rack, but I find it really annoying and difficult to use. I would LOVE to try something like this. It looks much simpler!

    Thanks!

  37. I would love to win one of these happy trivets. I’m not sure if this is where I’m to post for a change to win one but here goes.

    For the past 20 years I have been using an old lobster pot for all my canning needs. It came with a big rack inside so that’s where I put my jars. It’s not bad, it fits 6 quart sized jars. But I’d sure love this little trivet instead of the cumberson basket and I think I’d be able to fit one more jar without it.

    :-))) Gina

  38. This is my first successful canning year. I used a borrowed pot with a rack in it. I’d love to try the silicone trivet.

  39. Brilliant! Can’t wait to get one and try this. I’ve tried various round cake cooling racks (chrome, black), tying together bamboo skewers (time consuming!), folded dish towels, old canning jar rings tied together with twine, and even a silicone pot-holder (which melted a bit while I was processing the filled jars and left a slick, oily sheen on the jars and inside the pot). This looks much more adaptable to different size pots. Hurrah!

  40. Would love to use the trivet! I just started with canning and using cake rack. Just noticed last night that there was rust forming on rack and leaving marks in pot, yuck!

  41. I have canning problems but no great canning solutions to contribute. However this trivet may just solve one of my issues. I haven’t had a great rack for my pot. I’ve resorted to using the flat colander that fits in my canning pot. The problem is that it sits about 4 inches off the bottom which means I have a hard time canning tall jars. This could be the solution I need. Ohhhh pick me.

  42. Hey Marisa,
    I love your trivet fix. I have been using rings in the bottom of my canner (which grew to a BIG stock pot this year) since the one that came originally in my enamel one died the first season, the welds on it did not hold. Also, I found that regular mouth jars didn’t fit in it as well as wide mouth ones and I would be doing 6 instead of 7. I have done the tea towel in the bottom and have even used marbles, which was great, but my youndgest son demanded custody of his precious orbs back and so I was reduced again to rings. Thanks so much for the great idea, it’s wonderful!

  43. What is the diameter of the silicone blossom trivet? I have Marisa’s book but can’t find info on the trivet.
    I have a Fagor 10 qt pressure cooker and need a rack as it did not come with one.
    Thanks

  44. Hi I was always told not to let the jars touch how is this done I’v warped my jars in wash cloth with rubber bands to be sure thay don’t touch can you tell me any better??

    • It’s totally fine if the jars touch. You don’t want to cram them in to the point where they’re stuck, but you certainly don’t need to wrap them in washcloths.

  45. Hi. I bought one of these recently and my problem is how do I get the silicone trivet to lay flat in the boiling water before we drop in the basket?

    • If you’re using a canning basket, you don’t need to use this rack as well. But the trick is to turn the heat off for a moment, calm the boil, and then place the jars in on top.

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